CHICAGO – The company that owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and more than 20 television stations, made slightly less money last year as it ended a lengthy ordeal in bankruptcy court.
A financial statement released Monday shows the Tribune Co.’s profit dropped 6 per cent to $422.5 million in the year ending Dec. 30. The Tribune Co. emerged from a four-year stint under bankruptcy protection the day after it closed the books on its 2012 performance.
Earnings were $448 million in 2011.
Tribune Co.’s revenue edged up 1 per cent to $3.14 billion in 2012.
The company is trying to sell the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers to focus on its more profitable broadcasting operations. The newspaper sale is being done at the behest of a group of lenders that took over the Tribune Co. as part of the bankruptcy reorganization.
Like other media that get most of their revenue from print editions, the newspapers have been hurt by a shift that has driven more advertising to the Internet and mobile devices. The downturn in print advertising was one of the factors that caused the Tribune Co. to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008, about a year after real estate mogul Sam Zell bought the company in a debt-laden deal.
The Tribune Co.’s newspapers posted an operating profit of $89 million last year, down from $90 million in 2011. Newspaper revenue last year totalled $2 billion, unchanged from 2011.
The company’s broadcasting division, which includes the WGN station that’s carried on many cable services, generated an operating profit of $366.5 million last year, up 10 per cent from $332 million in 2011. Broadcasting revenue edged up 4 per cent last year to $1.14 billion.
To help shore up its profit, the Tribune Co. eliminated jobs, while also reorganizing its finances to shrink the debt load taken on as part of Zell’s buyout. The Tribune Co. jettisoned 900 jobs last year after cutting 700 positions from its workforce in 2011.
The bankruptcy reorganization cost the company $198 million last year, a 79 per cent increase from nearly $111 million in 2011.